Freelancing has grown tremendously in recent years with the advancement of technology that allows people in many industries to work from home. The medical community may not seem like the typical place for freelancing, but it is becoming a developing trend. For those who enjoy providing medical care to patients but want flexibility and the ability to work from home, freelance nursing is now an option.
What is a Freelance Nurse?
A freelance nurse is someone who works as an independent contractor rather than as an employee. He or she may contract with an agency/facility or he or she may provide services directly to a patient who pays for the care.
While you may immediately think of home health care for this type of work, other options are available. Freelance nurses can work in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and elsewhere.
A contract is drawn up between the nurse and the agency or individual who is hiring him or her. This contract outlines the duties of both parties and other specifics. It is designed to protect both sides and ensure that the relationship follows particular guidelines.
What Work is Involved?
Many times nurses who freelance will work directly with patients. In other cases, they may have non-patient tasks such as research or administrative duties. One growing area for nurses is as case managers for insurance companies, remote patient monitoring, and Telemedicine consultations. They can work out of their homes and oversee patient care.
For example, a nurse case manager for a worker’s compensation insurance company might follow her patients’ cases, review doctors’ and therapists’ notes and attend doctors’ appointments with the patient. He or she may provide recommendations for the patient. The goal of this job is to ensure the patient is getting the care needed for recovery while ensuring the insurance company is not paying for unnecessary services.
Another scenario is a nurse in a telephone triage. Someone is on-call for emergencies outside of office hours. The patient has the option to talk to a nurse rather than going to the emergency room. The nurse can help determine if the situation warrants emergency medical care or if it can wait for the clinic to open or even if self-treatment is appropriate.
An area where this is popular is with pediatricians. Many parents become worried about their babies or children and don’t want to wait until the office is open for an appointment. The nurse can assess the situation from a phone call and provide recommendations. Often, he or she can prevent unnecessary trips to the emergency room, saving the family and hospital money and providing peace of mind to the worried parent.
How to Find Freelance Nursing Jobs
It is easier to find nursing jobs where you work from home than you might think. Many employers post with online job sites such as Indeed.com, Monster, Craigslist, and others. The trick is that you have to figure out the right terms to use in your search. Companies may not use the word “freelance” or “telecommute” to describe the position. You may have to narrow down your search based on your field of interest to find a list of openings that meet your criteria and then review them for the option of freelancing.
In addition, there are sites like FlexJobs that list only flexible and telecommuting jobs. As the move to freelancing continues in this industry, you will find more sites that provide support to nurses looking for work. It is a growing field that promises to continue in the future to give nurses more options for their careers.
By Marisela Cigliuti, BSN, RN
CEO of TeleNurse Network